A tearful farewell to Mandela at Union Buildings

2013-12-11 14:28
 Nelson Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela bids farewell to the former president lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Nelson Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela bids farewell to the former president lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Pretoria - Nelson Mandela's family, local politicians and foreign leaders were the first to view his open casket at the Union Buildings on Wednesday, bidding a solemn, sometimes tearful farewell.

Her head bowed, his widow Graça Machel walked a few steps behind President Jacob Zuma after pausing at her husband's coffin, resting on a platform in the amphitheatre outside the seat of government.

She was followed by his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and her daughters, before former presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk paid their respects.

De Klerk's wife Elita dabbed away tears, as did Mandela's personal assistant of 18 years, Zelda la Grange, who clutched the hand of U2 singer Bono as she made her way to the casket.

Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda was the first of a contingent of African dignitaries to pay their final respects to Mandela. They included Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan and Liberia's Ellen Sirleaf Johnson.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was followed by Planning Minister Trevor Manuel and his wife Maria Ramos, before other Cabinet ministers and DA leader Helen Zille viewed the casket.

At a memorial in Soweto on Tuesday, Zuma had announced that the amphitheatre would be named after Mandela, who was inaugurated there as South Africa's first black president nearly 20 years ago.

It was at the Union Buildings on that day that Mandela set out his vision of a racially-integrated "rainbow nation".

On Wednesday, his funeral cortege passed several landmark sites that spoke of key moments in his political journey.

The hearse, led by motorcycle outriders, was taken past Pretoria Central Prison, where Mandela was held in 1962 for incitement and leaving South Africa illegally.

It also passed the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, where Mandela stood trial for treason and sabotage and made his now legendary pledge, in April 1964, that he was prepared to die for the ideal of a non-racial society.

This statement was quoted on Tuesday by US President Barack Obama in his moving 20-minute eulogy at Mandela's official memorial, hailing the former president as a "giant of history".

Obama's tribute dominated the rain-soaked, sometimes boisterous, memorial at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.

His decision to shake the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro in a reconciliatory gesture that belies decades of hostility between Havana and Washington created a diplomatic stir.

Paying last respects

Mandela will lie in state for three days, and the procession will be repeated each morning as the military brings his coffin from 1 Military Hospital to the Union Buildings.

Members of the public lined the streets of the capital to watch the procession after it left the hospital at 07:15 on Wednesday, and were waiting on the Union Buildings lawn by midday for the viewing area to open to the public once dignitaries had paid their respects.

Downtown, hundreds of people burst into song and dance as the cortege passed by, chanting "Tata Mandela".

Johannes Segooa, who watched from behind a security barrier, said he came to bid farewell to a man to whom South Africans owed much.

"His legacy will last forever as Tata has sacrificed a lot for us," said Segooa.

"He has run his race until the finish line."

On Madiba Street, a small group of people formed a guard of honour as helicopters hovered overhead.

Some pedestrians paused before hurrying to work. Others briefly left their office buildings for a glance at the cortege.

Said Olga Mathole from Soshanguve: "We know this is for Mandela, but our employers aren't aware, so I must go to work."

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday at the age of 95. Earlier this year, he spent several weeks in the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria while well-wishers kept up a constant vigil outside the gates.

He will be buried in his boyhood village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on Sunday.

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at Remembered.co.za.

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

- SAPA

Read more on:    nelson mandela
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.